Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not Interested in Doctrine?

Tim Keller on why doctrine matters:
So when you say, "I don't care about doctrine, it's how you live that matters," you are ironically promoting the doctrine of justification by works. You are proposing that what God really wants is a good life. The response can be similar when someone claims that it doesn't matter which religion you belong to, because all religions are alike and no one should be held to a particular doctrine of God. Yet that assumes that God is not holy, and that he does not hold people responsible for how they live. In other words, to say, "no one should be held to a particular view of God" is to assume and promote a particular view of God. To say, "doctrine about God doesn't matter" is itself a statement of doctrine about God - and therefore it does matter! So Lloyd-Jones concludes: "It is no use your saying, 'We are not interested in doctrine; we are concerned about life'; if your doctrine is wrong, your life will be wrong." [italics mine] (p. 23)
Keller goes on to quote Lloyd-Jones about how Scripture can never be divorced from real life. When one emphasizes life without Scripture, one becomes a moral relativist. When one emphasizes Scripture without life, one becomes a Pharisee. By pursuing that balance of intertwining doctrine and life, Keller says we'll experience criticism from both extremes.

Which do you lean towards: right living or right doctrine?


  1. Well, I'd like to say I respect both equally, but my aversion to reading the Bible as much as I need to tells me I probably lean towards "right" living over pursuing true doctrine. Sad.

  2. Right living is right doctrine. Right doctrine produces right living. They are inseparable.

  3. Brian, way to be honest with where you're at!

    Matt, that is Keller's exact point, but we still tend to naturally lean towards one over the other. My question is asking us to recognize our own faulty tendencies in order to pursue the integration of life and doctrine.